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Daily Record
Daily Record
Linda Howard

DWP rejects call to extend £650 cost of living payment eligibility to include all Housing Benefit claimants

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) confirmed last month that more than 8 million households across the UK will start to receive a cash payment for £326 from next week to help mitigate the rising cost of living. The first instalment of the £650 one-off boost will land in bank accounts from Thursday July 14, continuing to the end of the month.

People who claim both a means-tested qualifying benefit and Tax Credits from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), will receive the £326 from DWP this month. Those who only claim Working Tax Credits or Child Tax Credits will get the first of their two payments later this year - a date has still to be announced.

However, Liberal Democrat MP Daisy Cooper, has asked the DWP if it will broaden the eligibility criteria for the £650 payment to include people who are receiving Housing Benefit.

Ms Cooper joins a growing list of MPs who have now asked the DWP about widening the scope to help more people on a low income.

There have already been concerns raised by other MPs about people claiming certain legacy benefits who do not qualify for the payment, something which the DWP has revealed is being determined by a computer program.

An update to the Cost of Living guidance on GOV.UK, said: "DWP is using a computer program to identify who should get a Cost of Living Payment. If you disagree with this, contact the office that pays your benefit and tell them why you disagree."

Who is not eligible for the £650 payment?

You will not be eligible for a payment if you get the following benefits, unless you also receive Universal Credit:

  • New Style Employment and Support Allowance
  • Contributory Employment and Support Allowance
  • New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance

In a written response to Ms Cooper’s question regarding Housing Benefit claimants, DWP Minister David Rutley MP, said: “The UK Government is rightly targeting the £650 Cost of Living Payment support at low-income households in receipt of qualifying means-tested benefits.

“Housing Benefit is not a means-tested benefit. It is also administered directly from Local Authorities, often directly to a landlord. Payments to those receiving only Housing Benefit could not therefore be delivered in a quick, accurate and straightforward manner.”

He continued: “The majority of Housing Benefit claimants also receive a qualifying means tested benefit and will be eligible for the £650 Cost of Living Payment. Pensioners will also be entitled to the increased Winter Fuel Payment of £300 per household. Individuals in receipt of a qualifying disability benefit will also be entitled to the £150 disability Cost of Living Payment.”

However, he encouraged households who are not eligible for the means-tested cost of living payment to contact their local council directly to find out what support is available.

The Scottish Government received an additional £79 million from the UK Government’s Household Support Fund.

Find out more about getting help from your local council here.

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